McDonald’s Japan took an emergency measure on Tuesday to ration its french fries in 2,900 restaurants nationwide, following a supply shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and shipping disruptions in Canada.
The company said in a statement that its supply shipment was disrupted due to flood damage in Vancouver and the impact of the pandemic on its global supply chain. The potatoes used for the french fries are imported from North America, it said.
“While it is difficult to procure raw materials in a stable manner, we have cooperated with importers and suppliers to proactively take alternative measures,” it stated.
As such, McDonald’s Japan said it will only be selling fries in small sizes, while the sale of medium- and large-sized fries will temporarily be discontinued from Friday until Dec. 30.
“We sincerely apologize for any convenience caused to our customers,” it remarked.
McDonald’s Japan did not quantify the financial impact of the temporary suspension.
This is not the first time that McDonald’s Japan has encountered a potato shortage. In December 2014, the company was forced to halt sales of medium- and large-sized fries at more than 3,000 restaurants in Japan due to supply shortages caused by a labor dispute on the West Coast of the United States.
Some 20,000 dock employees were reportedly involved in a dispute with the shipping lines that employ them at 29 different ports, resulting in a delay in the arrival of frozen fried potatoes to Japan. Mcdonald’s Japan subsequently airlifted 1,000 tons of frozen fries to ease the shortage.
Meanwhile, the fast-food giant had announced in August that it would take milkshakes and bottled drinks off the menu at restaurants across England, Scotland, and Wales, due to supply chain issues.
British retailers, cafes, and restaurants were struggling to cope with a shortage of drivers at the time, particularly Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers and food processing staff, following the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“Like most retailers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues, impacting the availability of a small number of products,” a McDonald’s United Kingdom and Ireland spokesperson said.
In October, McDonald’s Korea said that its lettuce supply was running low due to disruptions in shipment, resulting in certain menu items being served with “less or without any lettuce.” Customers, in turn, will get a free drink coupon as compensation, reported The Korea Herald.
Reuters contributed to this report.